I took you close I got what I deserved

The first thing to get out of the way when describing Queens Park Rangers season is the story of the boardroom. From where I was sitting (Ederslie Road Stand, Block T. Seat 93) no one really wanted to talk about it in any depth. Roll your eyes sure, shrug, curse briefly when the kids were distracted by Jude the Cat but let's just leave all these depressing events, dismal flash suits and the Sheperds Bush Serious Crime Squad investigators to their own alternative universe. We're gazing at the field of dreams, at the familiar Hoops and thinking...it's been worse.

Then at the end of the season legendary fanzine A Kick Up The R's comes out with the real low-down, all the dirt and they name names. It's too long to go into here but basically it's a cheap power struggle between old-school, muddling through, lifetime supporter chairman and Italian ex-football player agents, "Monaco based holding companies" fronted by former Brazil captain Dunga (too boring a personality for this twisted movie, should have been Edmundo), North London heavies with guns and envelopes stuffed with cash, murky agents fees going on deals for players no one wanted, low-rent shakedowns in the executive boxes, threats, beatings, extortion, "can't talk about it because it's before the courts" and Jesus Christ you'd cry if you cared enough about it.

OK we can't even talk about what happened on the pitch yet because while all that was going on we changed managers. Sort of.

Ian Holloway took us up. He's a legend and a borderline comic genius. But the new chairman and board wanted him out and the non-English speaking Argentinian Ramon Diaz in. One of the former agents, now QPR director, used to be Diaz' representative. You couldn't say Holloway was losing the plot exactly but at some point around mid season the team started playing with fear. Whether this was because of the off-field shenanigans or the creeping discontent coming off the terraces, who knows? Suddenly Holloway was given premission to talk to Liecester about becoming their manager. Really? says Ollie, well OK if that's what you want, sure. Oh well, says the new board, if you're going to look elsewhere, you're sacked. No, wait. Not sacked, we can't afford to pay you off. You're on gardening leave. And assistant Gary Waddock is in charge. Gardening leave. He's still on gardening leave. A cover of a recent Kick Up the R's put his face on the poster of the movie The Constant Gardener.

What did we look like this year? Mostly we played longball. Our wingers Lee Cook and Gareth Ainsworth were good. Potential midfield maestro Martin Rowlands and captain Kevin Gallen were almost always injured, young players coming up through the academy barely got a look in, loan players came, played indifferently, and went. Attendences were bad. Half the games this season seemed to be mid-week evening kick-offs for reasons no one could explain. The burgers in the Crown and Sceptre deteriorated as badly as our midfield creativity. We finished fourth from bottom, never close to a relegation battle.

Ah well, Cookie re-signed this week, maybe to be followed by the promising Shabazz Baidoo. Waddock says he wants to play it on the floor and use the youngsters. Might be fun next year. World Cup starts soon. While I was watching the FA Cup Final I remembered that when I was kid in Canada my first English football game on TV was the 75 Cup Final and I loved West Ham. I could have gone West Ham but didn't for some reason. I moved to London twenty years ago and started supporting QPR. Why? The whole experience was drifting into a kind of inert misery.

Then I read on a messageboard from some old-timer who was tired of scrolling through the moaning and said something like...

Look everyone, I've seen it all before, forty years man and boy, and yes this is bad but goshdarnit this is why we go for this club. We ain't the biggest, never been the best, more lows than highs, but there's a special feeling at QPR, it represents something good. We wouldn't support these clowns unless we loved them. It's always been like this. So stop whining and enjoy being QPR. You have no choice.

Amen and see you next year.


Anonymous william garvey said...

Terrific writing but that last papagraph sums up everything that being a Rangers fan means to me,God I Love This Club, i have done for over 50 years and i'll carry on doing it till i die.


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